For each of the past four seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense has racked up at least 50 sacks. Should they repeat that feat in 2021, they’ll tie NFL history.
Pittsburgh’s defense has the chance to become just the fourth in NFL history to go five straight seasons recording 50+ sacks. Here are the others.
Most Seasons With 50+ Sacks, NFL History
T-1. Chicago Bears – 5 (1983-1987)
T-1. Dallas Cowboys – 5 (1983-1987)
T-1. Washington Redskins – 5 (1983-1987)
It’s notable all three of those teams did it over the same span of time, the ’83-’87 seasons.
This stat is especially notable because it doesn’t need to include my typical caveat of “sacks became an official stat in 1982.” Team sacks have been recorded for much longer. Pro Football Reference has data dating all the way back to 1949. So this list feels a bit more complete than others.
For the Steelers, this is a feat not even the Steel Curtain or Blitzburgh defenses of the 90s and 2000s were able to accomplish. Today’s climate is more passing friendly which lends itself to more passing and more chances for sacks but there’s no other team in football currently on the streak Pittsburgh’s enjoying. Here are their sack totals over the last four seasons.
2017 – 56
2018 – 52
2019 – 54
2020 – 56
As you’d expect, they’ve finished first or tied for first each of those years. The defense finally became elite in 2019 when they coupled that monstrous pass rush with a ball-hawking secondary capable of capitalizing on all the pressure the Steelers were getting.
Pittsburgh certainly has a chance to make it five seasons in a row. But there are some things working against them. Bud Dupree is about to be lost to free agency. And the AFC North offensive lines probably aren’t as weak as they were in recent seasons where the Steelers could feast on the Browns for 10+ sacks across their two meetings. But Keith Butler’s aggressive mindset coupled with great talent up front, guys like Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and TJ Watt, give this defense a fighting chance of another 50 sack year.